Corn Braid Pennant
Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Knowledge Translation through Beadwork
Student in the Faculty of Education, York University
My name is Tahnee Bennett or Kanerahta’kerha. I am Mohawk from Six Nations and Turtle Clan. I am a full-time student, a full-time mom and an online Language Instructor.
The corn braid and why it’s an important piece to acknowledge. Each year as we grow corn and harvest it, we hang it to dry. A traditional way to do this was by bringing many ears of corn together and weaving them together into a braid. This makes it so there is much corn that can be hung safely, and securely.
While I read Ryan’s article I was taken back to the time we had gathered at the Longhouse to braid all the blue corn that had been given to us for drying and future uses in the winter and spring. I recall hand selecting all my ears and started to braid, with the elders sitting behind me chatting in Kanyen’keha and the kids of the mothers running through the Longhouse. This was ceremony.
Even though we didn’t have a specific ceremony where we come together to braid corn, we had definitely turned it into ceremony by gathering together with one mind, one heart, and one spirit in the name of the corn, the corn is what brought us together. I can recall the amount of Skén:nen (peace) that I felt afterwards as if I had finished a regular ceremony.
This is what food is for our people, it is sacred, as Ryan said our Tyonnhékwen, our sustainer, they who give us life, our food bring that life and joy to it and we must remember to always give our thanks and gratitude to tyonnhékwen. I wanted to bring this feeling back to life by creating the corn braid and replicating the colors the best that I could with my beads. I was happy with the outcome not only because of the turn out, but because I was able to go back in my mind to ceremony and have those moments relived all over again.